Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Right off the Bat

I am not known for doing subtle well (I am sure that it comes as a shock that the person with purple hair does not do subtle well), so when Trystan announced this month's theme was hidden bats, I was at a bit of a loss.  Most of the batty things I make are over the top.  So I'll just call it hidden by my standards, as I didn't add batty earrings, barrettes, hosiery, etc.

I was at a particularly low point in my life when I made this blouse.  I felt like everything I did was wrong, work was terrible, my husband's grandmother had just passed away, and a dear friend disappeared off the face of the earth.  In an attempt to make myself feel better, I thought that perhaps if I tackled a sewing project, I might have more confidence.  I already had New Look 6179 in the pattern stash, and it looked easy enough.  I selected view A and grabbed this bat and spider fabric from the fabric stash.

(The story behind this fabric: I went into JoAnn's after Halloween and this fabric was 75% off.  I didn't have any particular plans for it, so I thought two yards would do.  There was something like two yards and four inches left on the bolt.  Rather than just have that four inches thrown away, I told the clerk I would take the whole piece.  She seemed to think I was just asking her to give it to me, though I most certainly was not.  It took considerable effort to make her understand otherwise.  Because those extra inches were considered a remnant, which is 50% off, and the fabric was already 75% off, those four inches she was thinking I wanted for free cost me a grand total of... EIGHT CENTS.)

Back to the review.  I didn't read the instructions before I selected the pattern.  If I had done so, I might have selected a different pattern.  Though cotton is the first suggested fabric, this pattern is designed for sheer fabrics; thus, French seams are used.  At that point, I made never tried to sew them, and considering how bad I felt about myself at the time, failure at this would have devastated me.

I am too stubborn determined to admit defeat, so I plunged ahead anyway.  I learned that French seams aren't so bad, but it is certainly weird to put right side to right side for sewing them.  Even now, I do have to double-check myself to make sure I've got it right.

This is a basic, loose-fitting blouse, so there aren't too many issues with fitting.  There is a slit down the front that is faced that I couldn't quite get to lie flat (enlarge the last picture).  The damn thing kept flipping outwards as well, so I tacked it down with some hand-stitching.  The upper seam is enclosed in  bias tape (I made my own from the fabric), and I threaded the ribbon through that.

Even after all my whining about the blouse, it wasn't too bad.  Once I got over my fear of French seams and my general malaise with life, this blouse came together rather swiftly.  Someone not wallowing in the depths of depression could do this blouse with beginner skills.

As for this other shirt, I think I got it from Target in their Halloween clearance.  It features an intentionally distressed bronze heart with bats fluttering away from it.

I just happened to wear this on a day when I was getting some bloodwork done.  The phlebotomist was surly to me from the moment she walked into the room, even though I was entirely polite and respectful to her.  After she drew the blood, she explained her rudeness was due to her being afraid of bats flying into her hair.  Apparently the cartoony bats from my shirt were going to come to life and attack her?  Bizarre.

UPDATE: Here is a close-up of the bat and spider fabric.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Busy As a Bee

My life has been pretty frenzied for the last month, and will continue to be so for the next 6+ weeks, so updates will probably sparse or non-existent for a while.  So don't worry, I'm not dead, just busy.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

McCall's Summer 2013

McCall's summer collection for 2013 has just been released.  I am not abundantly impressed, though this dress (in view D, the long, sleeveless on) is kind of cute.

McCall's 6770 gives me a bit of pause.  I suppose one would describe this as steampunk or neo-Victorian?  Or perhaps even colonial?  Don't get me wrong, I really love that jacket and the skirt (though the fabric appalls me), and I appreciate that they showed a more modern take on some of the items.  I guess it's really the terrible "I just rolled out of bed" hair that is distracting me.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Not a Ghost of a Chance

The Sophistique Noir theme for April is vintage, so I wanted to share two of the vintage garments I own and one that I sewed.  I love the look of vintage garments, but given that modern RTW garments don't fit my odd shape, I don't own all that many.  The benefit of sewing your own vintage repo garments is that they'll actually fit.

This jumper (US English)/pinafore (British English) is Simplicity 3673 view A.  The pattern doesn't give an exact year, but it does say 1950s retro.  It does feature a good deal of darts, some gathering, a rear zipper, a back vent, and a little bow-belt thing (which I omitted).  It was a bit finicky, so I would say this is probably an intermediate-level pattern.

The fabric I got on eBay an eternity ago; probably four or five yards for $15.  I couldn't give an exact year I bought it, but I remember bidding on it using a Sidekick I or II.  It features tiny little embroidered ghosts on a plaid-ish, and I believe it is cotton.

This cowl-neck sweater was my mother's.  She wore it as part of her uniform when she was in boarding school in England, so it is probably from the mid-60s.  The fabric seems acrylic and in cold weather, I wear the jumper with the sweater, heavy tights, and boots.  I suppose it isn't really vintage-accurate to combine the 50s and 60s, but I don't care because I'm warm.  In spring and fall, I wear the jumper with regular tights, a long-sleeved shirt, and heels; a t-shirt and sandals completes the outfit when it's hot.

I am not sure what to call this other vintage garment.  Is it a sleeveless jacket?  It doesn't really seem like a top, so I guess sleeveless jacket is what we'll go with.  The sleeveless jacket is lace covered with beads and has a synthetic lining.  A separating zipper up the back serves as the closure.

This belonged to my grandmother.  It was no tags, so I don't know what it is made from or where it came from.  I am not all that versed in vintage clothing, but if I had to guess, I would say this came from the 70s.  The lack of tags, plus the fact that the lace is quite similar to the standard one from JoAnn's, makes me wonder if someone made this for her.  (She certainly did not make it for herself.  She knitted and crocheted, but hated sewing.  She started a club called I Hate Sewing which I did not join.)  Due to the time period that I think this came from, if someone made it for her, it would probably have been my great aunt (her sister).

I might also add that all the beads on this make it heavy as sin.